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When the trailer for Gripped, an upcoming climbing-theme action movie, was released in 2018, we speculated that it could be the next Vertical Limit. Three years later, the film has secured distribution and announced a release date.
On July 9, the official Gripped Facebook page announced, “We signed a deal with 1091 Media who will be handling our distribution and blasting it out on the streaming platforms next month (August 11, 2020).”
Gripped follows two climbers on their quest to summit the “Killer Pillar,” a fictional peak in California’s High Sierra. After the more-experienced climber is injured in a fall, his partner must lead the rest of the route to save the team. The trailer was widely mocked among the climbing community for its cheesy dialogue—”The only way down is up,” which is now the films tagline—and the fact that, with two head injuries on display, the entire film could have been avoided with the use of helmets, among other things. Apparently it’s a love story, based on the poster.
The official description of the film reads:
Gripped is a feature length rock climbing survival epic that takes place on the side of a 1000ft cliff. Set high in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, Gripped follows the story of Rose (Amanda Maddox), a gym climber from Los Angeles who falls for Bret (Kaiwi Lyman), a rugged outdoorsman who gets the two in over their heads when they embark on the famous rock climbing route called “Killer Pillar”. Bret takes a huge fall and suffers a serious head injury and torn shoulder. With no way to retreat off the cliff, Rose is forced to take the lead and finish the 1000ft of climbing to the summit. However, Rose has very little experience with high alpine traditional climbing and when night falls and they are forced to bivouac on the side of the cliff. After a long night on the ledge and a potential storm approaching, it’s “climb or die” for Rose and its gonna take everything in her power to gain the summit successfully.
Rather than be deterred by the flack the trailer received, Gripped director Ben Galland seems to have embraced it. On Facebook he wrote, “STOKED for the flood of comments when this flick drops.” And on the official Gripped website, he wrote “You would not believe the emails and slander this film has been getting on the climbing forums. No such thing as bad press, please keep it coming!”
He’s not wrong. We’re talking about it.
Production for Gripped took place in Bishop and Lone Pine, California, over the course of three weeks and a budget of $98,650. According the film’s website, the team rigged over 1000 feet of rope on the side of the Whitney Portal Buttress. (If you’d like to climb the “Killer Pillar” check out these routes.) In 2018, the filmmakers raised another $20,000 on Kickstarter to complete post production work and cover marketing costs.
1091 Media has not yet announced where the film will be streamed.